David Cushley hoping to reward Ballymena’s fans with Irish Cup glory

David Cushley hopes Ballymena United can deliver on their ‘sleeping giants’ tag by lifting the Irish Cup this season.

The Sky Blues stand on the cusp of a first final appearance since 1989.

It was 25 years ago that Paul Hardy’s back-heeled goal claimed a 1-0 win against Larne at the Oval – a victory that has gone town in Showgrounds folklore.

Since then it has been a quarter century of Irish Cup agony for the Braidmen, but winger Cushley is determined to finally give fans something to cheer in 2014.

On Saturday Ballymena take on cup minnows Queen’s University at the Oval in a massive semi-final showdown.

And Cushley insists nothing less than 110 per cent will suffice if they are to realise the dream of reaching next month’s showpiece decider.

“It is the biggest game I will have been involved in with Ballymena. It is massive for the club,” Cushley said.

“Hopefully we can get the win and get into the final.

“There is a lot of expectation there – that will always be there.

“People will be asking ‘when is the next time Ballymena will win the Irish Cup?’. That is natural for a club of this size.

“Hopefully we can get into the final and put things right. These are one-off games now and we have to go out and give 110 per cent and give ourselves a chance of winning the trophy.

“Obviously winning the Irish Cup would be huge. It is the biggest cup competition and everyone wants to play in these finals.

“It is a massive occasion, but we have to get there first.

“You can talk about the final when you are finally there. But until then there is no point wondering what it would be like.”